BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: Cardinals retire Herzog’s number

  • Sat Jul 31st, 2010 9:23pm
  • Sports

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals retired former manager Whitey Herzog’s No. 24 in a ceremony Saturday before St. Louis played the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The sold-out crowd at Busch Stadium gave the newly inducted Hall of Famer a prolonged standing ovation after team owner Bill DeWitt made the announcement.

“You built a platform that we are happy to still have going today,” said DeWitt. “We will permanently retire No. 24 in your honor today.”

The 78-year-old Herzog was brought onto the field in a carriage pulled by two Clydesdales, Diamonds and Pops. Also in attendance were members of the 1985 National League championship team led by Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” Herzog said. “I was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame in Coopertown, N.Y., and it was a wonderful honor. But let me tell you folks, to be here tonight with my number being retired at Busch Stadium in front of these players who are responsible for me being here and you fans, that’s really great.

“I want thank you Mr. DeWitt and the organization for this honor,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. Thank you very much.”

A spokesman for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared Saturday to be Whitey Herzog Day in the state.

Herzog, a native of New Athens, Ill., was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame a week ago in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with outfielder Andre Dawson and umpire Doug Harvey.

Herzog managed 18 seasons. He spend 16 of them with St. Louis (1980-90) and Kansas City (1975-79). He won three division titles with Kansas City and two NL pennants with the Cardinals and one world championship in 1982.

As an outfielder with four teams from 1956-63, Herzog hit .257 with 25 homers and 172 RBI.

Fans received a Herzog bobblehead doll at the game.

Some of the players on Herzog’s 1985 National League championship team on hand for a 25th anniversary celebration were Jack Clark, Vince Coleman, John Tudor, Jose Oquendo, Andy Van Slyke, Tito Landrum and Danny Cox.

Other retired St. Louis numbers include Smith’s No. 1, Red Schoendienst’s No. 2, Stan Musial’s No. 6, Enos Slaughter’s No. 9, Ken Boyer’s No. 14, Dizzy Dean’s No. 17, ‘s Lou Brock’s No. 20, Bruce Sutter’s No. 42, Bob Gibson’s No. 45 and No. 85 in honor of former owner August A. “Gussie” Busch Jr.

Gonzalez homers in ninth to hit for cycle

DENVER — Carlos Gonzalez hit a game-ending home run leading off the ninth inning to become the sixth player in Colorado Rockies history to hit for the cycle.

Gonzalez, who singled, tripled and doubled in his first three at-bats, hit the first pitch from Chicago Cubs reliever Sean Marshall in the ninth to give Colorado a 5-4 win. It was his 21st homer of the year.

The last Rockies player to hit for the cycle was Troy Tulowitzki, who did it Aug. 10, 2009, against the Cubs.

MLB rescinds Venters’ 4-game suspension

CINCINNATI — Major League Baseball has rescinded a four-game suspension for Braves reliever Jonny Venters, deciding he didn’t purposely throw at Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder.

Venters threw a pitch over Fielder’s head, then hit him in the back on July 17. Both teams were warned after the first pitch, and Venters and Braves manager Bobby Cox were ejected after the next pitch hit Fielder.

It happened one inning after Fielder homered to start a five-run inning in Milwaukee’s 6-3 win.

Cox served a one-game suspension, though he contended Venters didn’t throw at Fielder. Venters had a hearing on the suspension last week and made the same point.

Braves 2B Prado has broken knuckle

CINCINNATI — Second baseman Martin Prado has a broken knuckle on his right pinkie finger, an injury that will sideline the Atlanta Braves’ leadoff hitter for at least a week.

Prado jammed the hand while sliding hard into home plate Friday night during the 10th inning of a 6-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds. X-rays initially were inconclusive.

Prado is expected to be sidelined for a week to 10 days. Manager Bobby Cox said the team will take a day or two before deciding whether to put him on the 15-day disabled list.

It’s a big setback for the NL East leaders. Prado has a career-high 13 homers, leads the National League with 138 hits and ranks third in batting average at .315. He leads the majors with 44 multihit games. Prado reached 100 hits this season in the second-fewest games in Braves history, doing it in his 69th game. Ralph Garr got 100 hits in 62 games in 1974.

Hamilton scratched from Rangers’ lineup

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Major league batting leader Josh Hamilton was scratched from the Texas Rangers’ lineup Saturday night because of patella tendinitis in his right knee.

Hamilton, hitting .362 with 23 homers and 75 RBI, started in center field in Friday night’s 9-7 loss to the Angels. He was shifted to left field in the fifth inning after feeling discomfort in his troublesome knee, and came out of the game in the seventh.

“The pain part of it is not something I can’t deal with,” Hamilton said before batting practice, when he was penciled in to play left field and bat third. “I mean, it’s frustrating when it gives out on you at times that you need it not to give out on you when you have to perform baseball functions.”

The three-time All-Star missed his fourth game of the season, and the first because of injury. He is batting .411 with six homers and 22 RBI in 32 games since his last unscheduled day off on June 23. But he opted not to take another cortisone shot.

“I’m only allowed to get two in the same spot in a year, so I wanted to wait as long as possible to get the next one so it can last me however long it needs to last me the rest of the season,” said Hamilton, who was out of the starting lineup for the seventh time. “What we’ll do now is just pump up the anti-inflammatories a little bit.”